Travel guide and general advice about Canary Islands. Canary Islands travel guides includes Activities, City Life, currency, entertainment, food, eating out, getting around, shopping, legal requirements, language, sights, weather and wine
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About Canary Islands

The Canary Islands – consisting of seven very individual islands, are separated by crystal clear Atlantic Ocean waters and continuously bathed in over 3000 hours of warm sunshine and tropical African breezes throughout the year. Enjoying a mild-spring climate, the Canaries benefit not only from major tourism with plenty of genuine comfortable holiday accommodation and hundreds of glorious sun drenched beaches.

The Canary Islands consist of: El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife, with each being quite spectacular but different from their neighbours. They are generally known to be Europe’s most southerly region. With barely two hours flying time from Spain and just four hours from many European cities, the islands are a ready made holiday attraction for those wishing to escape the winter chills of Northern Europe.

From their volcanic origins, the Canary Islands have been transformed into a natural holiday paradise - they have survived with a genuine desire for travellers to experience the diverse islands’ culture, whilst enjoying relaxation and leisure at a much slower pace.

Visitors can explore the inland lunar landscapes, the lush green plantations of the higher reaches where they usually produce 2 salad crops each year, or wander around the splendid coastlines searching out the exclusive deserted beaches. Back to holiday rentals in Canary Islands

Activities

Water sports are big in the Canary Islands, with regular Windsurfing and Diving competitions held each year that attract large numbers of return visitors and competitors. You can enjoy a day on a luxury Catamaran, go dolphin spotting or whale-watching, or simply enjoy a swim in the crystal blue waters around the Islands’ coastal resorts or deserted beaches. Jet-ski thrills, spills and riding the waves could be another great way to spend your time, or maybe take a sailing trip and delight in the calmer waters just off-shore.

Golf is regular sport, and with many excellent golf courses to choose from you'll be spoilt by the fantastic weather and playing conditions. Several of the Island’s Golf Complex’s have newly built Villas or Apartments close by, thus making it a golfer's dream holiday destination.

Kite-Boarding and Kite-surfing are both available from many of the Islands’ beaches, offering excellent conditions and with professional instruction on offer too.

Currency

On January 1, 1999, 12 European Union countries chose to form an economic and monetary union (EMU) and started using the euro. On January 21, 2002, euro notes and coins became available. The new euro currency will be made up of 100 cents. 5, 10, 20 50, 100, 200 and 500 notes are available, as in 1 and 2 euro coins, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents coins. On January 1, 2002, euro notes and coins became legal tender anywhere in the participating countries, regardless of the country of origin.  Old national notes and coins were removed from circulation by January 31, 2002. By July 2002, only euros will be in circulation and they will be the official currency.

Most major credit cards are widely accepted, along with Euro-cheque cards. Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 2.00pm.

Food / Eating Out

Although the Canary Islands have a hot and mostly dry climate, the food is simple, tasty and uncomplicated. Naturally, fish plays an important part of the daily diet for many locals and visitors alike, with popular dishes such as Paella and Pejines being just a couple forming part of the local restaurant dishes on offer.                                         You'll find the usual array of Tapas dishes to sample when you are out in a bar enjoying a drink or two.  Shell fish is popular and readily available, with Mussells (Mejillones) Crab, Lobsters, Octopus and Squid that are found on many Seafood restaurants.                                                                                                      

Fresh fruit and vegetables obtained locally will not disappoint you and would compliment any chicken or meat dish you may wish to cook yourself or enjoy as a treat when dining out.
Cheeses are always popular in the Canaries, with 'queso majorero' a local favourite, which is made from goat’s milk and comes in different flavours and textures.

Language

The Official Language of the Canary Islands is Spanish, although English, French & German is widely spoken and understood in Hotels and areas popular with Tourism.

Shopping

The Canary Islands has a special Duty Free status, making Tobacco, Perfume and Alcohol much cheaper than other shops in the EU.
Prices are much lower in the resorts than in the Airport or on an Aircraft.
Tobacco allowance is 200 Cigarettes OR 250grms Tobacco OR 50 Cigars.
Alcohol Allowance is 1 Litre of Spirits OR 2 Litres of Sparkling or fortified wine PLUS 2 litres of still wine.
An allowance of 60cc of Perfume or 250cc of Eau de Toilet is permitted, but visitors should check locally for any changes to these allowances.

Sights

If you are not a serious sunbather, then ideally you could take an easy tour around the Canary Islands. By driving off the beaten track, you can study the gorgeous rural landscape, visit some of the Island's cultural and historical sites, like churches and museums, or visit other interesting tourist attractions. There are also regular ferry trips to the neighbouring Islands. Try Lanzarote, Fueteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife which make for a great family day out.

Weather

The Canary Islands generally have almost perfect weather conditions for all seasons. They are situated approx 300kms from the Western Sahara desert, making the climate a lot warmer in than in Britain. The hottest days are in summer and usually when a hot dry wind is blown in from the Sahara Desert, sometimes causing mini-sandstorms to spread over the islands. All the Canary Islands can get quite windy at times, but the average daily temperature is a very welcome 22C for much of the year.

Southern Tenerife is relatively rain free, and is much warmer and dryer and also more desert-like in its appearance than the lush and tropical appearance of the North. With a good deal more rainfall, the Northern terrain and landscape, is colourful, lush and green with its many banana plantations adorning the countryside. Any rainfall is usually expected during the winter between October and February.

Lanzarote is one of the driest of the Canary Islands and enjoys a very mild climate year-round. Little rainfall is expected, other than isolated showers, which occur mainly during winter and really makes it an ideal holiday destination for both summer and winter visitors.

Fuerteventura: the second largest island, is located nearest to the African coast as is arguably the warmest and driest of them all.

Further Information

Lanzarote - '10 Lanzarote Beaches'
Canary Islands Travel Guide - An Overview